I know; It’s been awhile. Instead of writing about technology, I’ve been writing about new popular music. I still love technology but writing about music is more rewarding. You can check out my blog at Tunes Past To Present. There you will find reviews about new music that appeals to an… let’s say more mature… audience.
That’s not what this blog is about. It is about Mastodon and why it’s so much better than TWITer… I mean Twitter. For those who are unfamiliar with Mastodon, it is a microblogging platform that is, in some ways, similar to Twitter. Unlike Facebook or LinkedIn, you can have one way connections with people. With Mastodon, you can follow individuals and see what they are posting, just like Twitter. That’s where the similarities end.
So, here are my 7 reasons why Mastodon is better than Twitter.
- Mastodon’s architecture is quite different and better. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are all centralized services. Even though the underlying systems are no longer monolithic, the service itself is. That’s why someone like Elon Musk can trash it in a few weeks. Mastodon, on the other hand, is a set of federated servers. Each server instance is created and managed individually by different groups of people. It’s like having your own little Twitter. Even if one server goes away, all the other ones would remain. There is no central service to destroy.
- Traffic is federated. Posts from one server can be accessed from the other servers in the loosely connected system of systems using a messaging protocol called ActivityPub. You can even connect to different services that are based on ActivityPub. Practically, that means if you can follow someone on a server different from your own. It’s like seeing posts from Facebook and Twitter on each other’s platform.
- Focused viewing of posts. On Twitter (or many other social networks) you can only see what you follow. On Mastodon, you can see posts from people you follow, the posts on your local server (i.e. your immediate community), and posts from other connected, or federated, servers. You don’t see them all in one stream like Twitter; You see them broken into those three groups. The upshot is that it’s easier to discover more interesting people to follow than it is on Twitter.
- No advertising. Mastodon is run by individuals and some not-for-profits. No one is selling advertising. It’s pure community.
- It’s open source! That’s right – Mastodon is open source. This means that anyone can stand up a server and start a community and many people can contribute to it’s development and maintenance.
- Fewer trolls and hate speech. Moderators are pretty diligent about trolls and hate speech. Most servers have rules against it. If the server you’re on allows bad behavior, migrate to another server. Most servers will refuse to carry traffic from individuals or entire servers, also known as blocking and defederating, that spout hate speech or harass other people on the server. The reason for this is that there is no profit motive. Twitter may be loathe to ban someone for hate speech because they have a lot of followers, making them attractive to advertisers. A Mastodon moderator has no such problem. The one I’m on even has a rule in the Code of Conduct that says “Don’t be a dick”. Can’t argue with that.
- People are trying to build it up not tear it down. Sorry Elon, but you’re trashing Twitter. You clearly have a “burn it down to make it better” approach to business. Mastodon is community led. The only goal is to have a good time.
What’s the big negative? The Mastodon server I’m on, linernotes.club – a server dedicated to music, is so engaging that I’m already spending too much time on it. I used to publish on Twitter, but never spend much time reading posts. It was fire and forget. Mastodon has the potential to become a giant time suck. That’s really not a bad thing.
Mastodon delivers community, helps discover new people and content, and provides a more healthy environment than Twitter. Twitter is none of the above and I have doubts about it as a going concern. You can’t lose more than half (probably a lot more than half) of your engineers and keep the system running as is, let alone continue to evolve it. It’s probably done like dinner. One thing I’ve learned in nearly 40 years in IT is not to stay in the dumpster when it’s on fire. I can smell Twitter burning from across the country.
If you want to follow me on Mastodon, you can find me at @DJMRP@linernotes.club from most Mastodon servers. Or join linernotes.club. It’s a great community.